America’s Brand getting scorched from Donald Trump’s Firebrand

Among the services provided under my title umbrella as a “Communications Consultant,” I work with executives to improve their “Professional Brand.”

I stress the importance of taking ownership for everything you say, present, write, tweet, or whatever and  help my clients focus on making sure every written and spoken word is as thoughtful and deliberative as possible to better engage and motivate their audience.

It made sense then, this weekend, as I sat in Dublin at the microphone across from RTE1 radio Business Show host Richard Curran, that we would be discussing the impact of the words from one of the most spotlighted professional brands in the world at this moment, US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

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The question at hand: how have his ongoing invectives hurt his brand, his business, his organization?

Not much, is the short answer. His business and personal brand remain consistent: Power. Maverick Leadership. Boldness. “I Don’t Care” – a phrase he often says.

You’ll recall after verbally bashing Hispanics during the summer, Trump is now, following recent deadly attacks conducted by a handful of radicalized Muslims, taking aim at the entire global population of Muslims (more than 1.6 billion people).  Among other measures, the Republican front-runner is calling for a total ban on allowing them to enter the United States.

Certainly, Trump is a man who understands what it means to have a powerful brand.  Simply paying for the licensing right to slap his mighty last name (in all-caps and in gold, of course) on hotels all over the world brings his organization millions each year.

And while the media, as well as the political GOP establishment, continue to express alarm, the business repercussions Trump is experiencing are really quite humble when you consider the proportional impact to his multi-billion-dollar empire.

Yes, the Middle East department store chain “Lifestyle” removed Trump products from its shelves, and one notable Dubai-based businessman, Khalaf al-Habtoor, wrote a column telling Muslim countries it’s a “huge mistake” to associate with the firebrand candidate, but most of Trump’s Muslim associates have clearly decided to separate politics from big-money business.

For instance, Damac, a Muslim-owned company that was jointly developing “Akoya” estates around a Trump golf club in Dubai, initially covered the Trump name on the sign in front of the property after Trump’s anti-Muslim remarks.  Thursday, however, the name is once again emblazoned. A spokesperson stated the company would not comment on “the internal American political debate scene.”  That scene, in which Trump is still way out in front of the eight other Republican-hopefuls, making it appear that the business community is hedging their bets.

So, it’s unlikely that his ongoing rants against women and minorities is anything accidental – nor as what some people refer to as “PR disasters.”  It’s all part of Trump’s calculated and consistent professional brand.

A brand powerful enough to prompt the US conservative magazine, “National Review” just last week, to acknowledge Trump as the party’s “Alpha-dog.”

The article compares the communication styles between would-be front-runner Jeb Bush, who is lagging in the polls with “The Donald” writing,

Bush is an accomplished public servant and profoundly decent man whose theory of the race has been that the party needs an adult. But the party wants a leader. While there’s overlap between those two things, they aren’t identical. An adult makes sure everyone is operating within the bounds of established rules; a leader changes the rules.

As a veteran CNN anchor and correspondent, and international campaign strategist, I am a believer in the power of communications to engage and motivate employees, clients, friends, family, you name it.

Clearly, Donald Trump is effectively leveraging his brand and resonating with a significant group in the Republican party – the “ethno-nationalists” as some pundits are calling the “Trump-ists.”

But his gold-plated, all-capital-letter, loud-mouthed, “I Don’t Care” brand is also spilling over onto the nation as a whole, casting an intolerant, knee-jerk, racist shadow over the United States upon the world stage.

We’re not all billionaires, but especially at this precious holiday time of light, peace and love, the Donald’s “Brand” is something we can afford to do without.

Copyright Gina London 2015.  All Rights Reserved.